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Lesbian Latina Sets Out to Make History and Oust Anti-LGBT Texas Gov.

Lupe Valdez, former sheriff of Dallas County, is the first openly gay and Latina to win a major party nomination for governor in Texas.

REUTERS

A new sheriff may soon be in town in Texas, and she's already making history.


Former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez narrowly defeated her opponent in the primary race for Texas governor Tuesday night. Her nomination alone is an achievement; Valdez is the first openly gay and Latina to win a major party nomination for governor in the state.

The state's current governor, Republican Greg Abbott, is an anti-LGBT conservative. He opposes gay marriage.

Last year Abbott signed a bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBT potential parents. House Bill 3859 gave faith-based adoption agencies the right to turn people away "under circumstances that conflict with the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs."

Valdez wants to bring Texas to the present.

"Tonight is a victory for all of us who are fighting for a stronger and fairer Texas. A tolerant and diverse Texas," she said when she accepted her nomination. “A Texas where the everyday person has a voice and a fair shot — just as I had."

Valdez, a former United States Army captain, acknowledged that she has a long journey ahead of her. But it's nothing she can't handle.

"I am constantly hearing this is an uphill battle. Please — tell me when I didn't have an uphill battle," she said.

"I am getting darn good at uphill battles."

Women — particularly minority women — have been owning their uphill battles in politics. Women also secured Democratic nominations in Kentucky and Georgia, where the first Black woman was nominated to run for governor for a major party.

Currently there are only six female governors across the country (as well as District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser).

And the LGBT community saw another victory in Texas. Gina Ortiz Jones secured the Democratic runoff for one of the state's Congressional districts. She could make history in November too; if she defeats her opponent, Jones will be the first lesbian, Filipina American and Iraq War veteran serving Texas in Congress.

She too has an uphill battle against Will Hurd, her two-term incumbent opponent, who — like Abbott in the race for governor — has a lot of support and money.

The Conversation (1)
Susan C.24 May, 2018
I congratulate and support both women in their political races and in all they do! This country needs a more diverse representation in all things government and more people like them. I only wish that I could vote for them.... and not just because they are women, or LGBT, or even because they are Latino and Filipino - but because their records of service to this country and their communities, the sheer will power and drive to do what is right and to protect and serve is the kind of leadership we need in this country. I - and many others - would prefer this kind of leadership over the stuffy, white, mostly male, pot-bellied, bigoted politicians of the past and feel we should lend all the support we can. Congratulations on their successes thus far. I hope they go all the way to the top

Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole Selected as Board Chair and Seventh President of National Council of Negro Women

"My heart is overflowing with gratitude for this honor to serve as the seventh president of this organization that has been a voice of and for Black women," said Dr. Cole.

The National Council of Negro Women (NCMW) selected Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole as its chair and seventh president during the closing session of their 58th Biennial National Convention in Washington, D.C. Ms. Ingrid Saunders Jones, who served as NCNW's chair for more than six years, will continue to serve the organization as the immediate past chair.

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Michelle Obama Talks 2020 Presidential Election

"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," Obama said, in jest. "I might even tap Sasha!"

We've never had a POTUS and FLOTUS like the Obama's before, and we've never had a Trump before. Two very different presidencies, one wrought with bigotry, racism and rampant white supremacy, and scandal, the other full of hope, unity and service. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama says we need to pay attention to who is qualified in the next presidential election.

"I implored people to focus and think about what it takes to be commander-in-chief," Obama told Robin Roberts in a "20/20" interview, in reference to women electing a misogynist in 2016 instead of a qualified female candidate.

She expressed the importance of voting, but went beyond that to describe the kind of person qualified to run this country.

"The commander in chief needs to have discipline, and read, and be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words," she said.

"I'm going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren't beat up and battered," the former first lady, who said she will not run for president, stressed.

"I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve."

She even joked that at this point, anyone is qualified to run for president —even her daughter.

"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," she said on Good Morning America "I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!"

Obama and her husband were about service before, during and after the presidency.

Candidates like Trump, drunk with power, have a past, present, and future that mirror that intoxication.

Coming off midterms there are questions about what to do next — investigations of Trump, what lessons did we learn articles, predictions of the 2020 election, but getting back to what a leader, a public servant of this country is supposed to do — lead by serving its people — is a message that voters can review candidate criteria with.

"It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting," she said. "People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values."

Obama explained, "Where I'm at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. Let's see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That's what the primary process is for."

In looking at Trump's record, most of his decisions have been made to serve himself. His record of cheating employees out of money, not paying taxes, discriminating against Blacks in terms of who could claim residency in his buildings, misogynistic comments, scandals around payoffs for affairs — none of it shows signs of service.

Obama writes in her new memoir "Becoming" how Trump's division and bigoted messaging tactics to garner a movement to propel his campaign impacted her own family's safety:

"The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."

In current times, his decisions in the White House usually involve a lot of divisive words to spark attention from white supremacists, "look what I did" moments on twitter for validation, and little about what the country needs, but instead what the country should be afraid of.

And that is not why you get the job in the first place.

HBCUs​ Set Foundation for Black Politicians in Key Positions

"Black people have always been underestimated. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people," said Senator Art Haywood, a Morehouse Graduate.

Twitter

What Kamala Harris, Alma Adams, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all have in common, in addition to being influential in U.S. politics, is they're graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) — Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Spelman College.

Approximately 40 percent of the members of Congress are HBCU graduates, according to the Network Journal, a Black professional and small business magazine. And recipients of The United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall Foundation scholarships graduate from college at rates well above the national average.

"We're producing outstanding leaders in all of the major professions," said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former Delaware State president.

"Anytime you can look at (HBCU) success stories, it just enhances their relevancy and continues to move them forward in a positive way."

This year, a record 38 women of color were elected to Congress. Many of them are HBCU graduates.

The prospect of so many Black-college graduates being elected to statewide office in the same year is unprecedented, Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University, said.

And they are touting their HBCU training. Abrams expressed her disapproval of legislation plans for education that did not include those institutions.

Gillum responded to President Trump's tweet attacking him about his lack of Ivy League education:

Art Haywood is one of four Black state senators in Pennsylvania, and one of two from Morehouse.

"If the two Black state senators had come from Harvard or Yale, then those schools would get all the credit," Haywood said.

"Black people have always been underestimated," Haywood said. "I don't think there's any more validation required. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people."

Of politicians like Abrams and Gillum, the president of HBCU Dillard University Walter Kimbrough said they are sending a message: "It's a reaffirmation, not only for students but for families, that you can go to an HBCU and compete with anyone."

Approximately 13 percent of HBCU graduates are CEOS, 40 percent are engineers and 50 percent are professors at non-HBCUs, according to the Network Journal.

The HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities study shows how the United States economy benefits from HBCUs: $14.8 billion in economic impact. In addition, graduates predominantly come from low-income areas, giving them and the communities the opportunity to break cycles of poverty and open doors to successful and lucrative careers. Individual graduates can earn $927,000 within their lifetime, $130 billion collectively over their lifetime.

Andrew Gillum Campaign Readies for Recount

"I, like so many others, hoped beyond hope that we'd be able to [have a] recount," Sili Recio, a community organizer in Orlando, told DiversityInc.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee mayor, Andrew Gillum, conceded the race for governor at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Gillum lead a masterful campaign. The margins were incredibly close. So close that the community gathered, along with his camp, to ensure that he could get a recount, and, as of Thursday, it's headed in that direction.

The initial call to action, which began at 10 a.m. on Thursday, was to cure issues with provisional ballots because of the sheer number of them. With the Bill Nelson/Rick Scott Senate race so close, as well, it was imperative that every vote be counted.

A campaign office in Orlando was one of the main locations where volunteers showed up to help in every capacity. People that worked directly on the Gillum campaign were there as well Nelson supporters. There were well over 400 volunteers across the building's threshold.

Volunteers putting in the workPhoto courtesy of Sili Recio

How did all of this happen so quickly?

It was the power of social media.

A bright, creative social media director/ influencer of a nonprofit organization with a grassroots community organizing background, Sili Recio, was a main player at the Orlando location.

Recio was crucial in creating social media awareness so the people who voted via provisional ballots would truly have the opportunity to have their votes counted.

"I showed up to volunteer in whatever capacity I was needed in. Social media is my specialty so, I started by coordinating for some images to be created in order to get the word out and provide those that had voted via provisional ballot with the information they needed in order to ensure that their ballot was cured," Recio told DiversityInc.

"I bounced around from initially thinking I'd go knock on doors and provide voters with affidavits, if needed, to phone banking and leading the charge of attempting to find the provisional ballot voters on social media. I called it creative locating and my defacto social media team did a fantastic job in going through the list and doing everything in their power to make sure that people knew what had to be done in order for their vote to count."

Recio added, "I, like so many others hoped beyond hope that we'd be able to recount Gillum as well. I didn't know how it was to be done but, I'm glad it got handled."

An unnamed supporter at the office, a gentleman who was undergoing chemotherapy, stood out among volunteers. Despite his physical condition, he shared a message of hope, persistence and love. He said this was too monumental of a movement to miss.

His inspiring effort became even more incredible when he shared all eight pages of the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech with the rest of the group.

Another volunteer, Sabrina, put in hours of work. Ironically, she didn't even live in Orlando. Sabrina had just flown in for a conference, heard about what was being done with reference to call to action and drove to the site straight from the airport.

Related Story: It's Not Over for Andrew Gillum: Florida Governor Race Could Head to Recount

Democracy in Color's Steve Phillips Shares His Perspective on Midterm Elections

There was an extraordinary turnout of people rallying for "the defender of white supremacy in the White House," said Phillips.

Author Steve Phillips speaking at a 2016 DiversityInc event.

By Keka Araujo and Sheryl Estrada

There's a multicultural progressive New American Majority that made its voice heard in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to Steve Phillips, a national political leader and civil rights lawyer.

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Michael Jordan Makes Multimillion-Dollar Donation to Break Poverty Cycle Through Mentorship

"My mentors believed in me and taught me the power of perseverance," Jordan said.

REUTERS

NBA legend Michael Jordan believes so much in the power of mentorship that he has made a multimillion-dollar donation to a national nonprofit whose mission is to "break the cycle of generational poverty."

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Native American Tribes Push Back Against Voter Suppression

Tribes in North Dakota to provide free identification with street addresses to its members for voting.

YOUTUBE

When the Supreme Court supported laws in North Dakota that require IDs must display a "current residential street address," about 70,000 Native American voices that could've been silenced.

But The Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota all have helped provide free IDs with street address to tribal members who live on reservations. As over Tuesday, over 2,000 IDs have been provided, and the programs will continue to provide IDs through election day.

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Texas High School Students Chant the N-Word: Video

The teens that attend Carroll Senior High School have barely been reprimanded.

Screenshot NBC 5

In Southlake, Texas, Carroll Senior High School officials reprimanded a group of white students who were captured on video spewing racist tirades.

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